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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

I: The Crusade in the Fourteenth Century,   pp. 2-26 ff. PDF (9.6 MB)

Page 10

10 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III 14.Ed. J. Bongars in Gesta del per Francos.
. . (2 vols. in 1, Hanover, 1611); partialtrans. by A. Stewart for Palestine
Pilgrims' Text Society (London, 1896). 
(V), who would organize an eastern empire with French leanings. This curious
medley of ideas, both feasible and unfeasible, provides the keynotes to the
project formulated by Peter Dubois under the auspices of a royal master to
whom the crusade appears to have been a means rather than an end in itself.
 Perhaps the most practical propositions were those which came from a Latin
resident in the Levant, Marino Sanudo Torsello, who was related to an important
Venetian dynasty settled in the Archipel ago. He wrote a monumental work
which he called Liber secretorum fidelium crucis;14 he submitted its first
redaction to pope Clement V in 1309 and the second to king Charles IV of
France in 1323. As one who had traveled far and wide in the Levant, he had
managed to collect more data and original material about the countries of
that part of the world than any of his Latin contemporaries. His concep tion
of a successful crusade is based on economic principles above all other considerations.
The chief source of Mamluk superiority is trade. The western maritime powers
send their ships to the trade emporia of Egypt and Syria for the purchase
of goods imported from India and the Far East. By this means they enrich
the sultans with Christian money which they employ in fighting the Christians
in Palestine. Furthermore, some of the Christian states themselves per fidiously
supply the enemy with war material from European mar kets and with slaves
from Kaffa and elsewhere, destined to feed the Mamluk ranks with warriors.
Past experience has taught Christians the hopelessness of depending solely
on armed expeditions for the recovery of the Holy Land. In order to defeat
the Mamluks, the Christians must first drain their foes' economic resources
and stop their slave trade with the Tatars. Therefore, a general ban on trade
with the Islamic states in the Near East should be declared by the papacy
on pain of excommunication and interdict. Next, a maritime blockade should
be enforced on the Moslem shores of Egypt and Syria. Special galleys should
stand by to guard the waters of the Levant against intrusion and intercept
any Moslem craft attempting to reach the western world. If this blockade
were rigorously sus tained over a period of three years, the Mamluk sultans
would be completely crippled, and their resources of men and material dried
up. It is only then that the Christians might conduct their crusade with
assured success for the recapture and retention of the Holy Land. 
 In reality, the examples mentioned represent only a fraction of 

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